Fasting is where you deprive yourself of food for a pre-determined amount of time. Common fasts are 1 day, 7 days, 21 days, and 40 days. Fasts can be anything you want. You can abstain from sugar, you can abstain from certain meals in the day, or you can abstain from all solid food and only drink juice and water. The the most pure fast involves abstaining from all food, except water, but this isn’t a realistic or healthy choice for most people today. I personally hate fasting, but for some reason, I’ve done 21 day fasts 3 times in my life.
Disclaimer: Before attempting a fast of any kind, please consult with your doctor.
Senior Year of High School
This was in February 2005. It was my first 21 day fast and I made a few mistakes. Luckily my mom was just 3 months from graduating medical school, so I was in good hands. I thought I could do a complete water-only fast for 21 days, while going to school every day, but I was wrong. First, I thought you just had to load yourself with water. I thought, “Hey, I’m not eating anymore, so let’s just drink a gallon or more of water a day.” So for the first 48 hours, I was just gulping it down like an idiot. That was a bad idea. Even though our bodies are 70% water, I got what is called water intoxication. I woke up from a nap on the 3rd day and had about 3% of the normal energy I usually do. It was a strain to get out of bed. I could barely make it up the stairs to the kitchen. When I got there, I told my mom what I’d been doing and she immediately put a stop to it. From that point on, I was to drink orange juice in addition to my water, and cut down on my water intake. It did the trick and the next morning I was right as rain. The rest of the fast went well, and I drank about half a gallon a day of a 50% pulp-free orange juice, and 50% water mix. In total, I lost 35 lbs. I went from 190 lbs to 155 lbs.
During this time, I had homework and other things to do, but the OJ gave me enough energy to do what I had to do, though with less motivation than I was used to.
During the fast, only a handful of people knew about it, and I distinctly remember wearing this hoodie around school every day, carrying around a gallon jug of watered down orange juice, and mostly keeping to myself. I have fond memories of that hoodie and that gallon jug. They were my life. When you fast like that, it’s really like you’re on another planet. When you stop eating, it’s hard to be social. I took advantage of my isolation and used it as an opportunity to grow spiritually, by praying and reading my bible regularly. My underlying reason for this fast was spiritual discipline.
I’m big on working out, as High School sports has ingrained that in me for the rest of my life. When I went back to the gym at 155 lbs in March 2005, I could only bench 95 lbs. A few months earlier, in August 2004, I was benching 330 lbs and squatting 540 lbs, while weighing only 190 lbs. We had a world class weight training coach, Steve Isaac. He was also our defensive football coach.
2008 College Juice Fast
The next fast was in the beginning of 2008. This time I decided to do a juice fast. I borrowed my dad’s juicer, and for 21 days I’d juice fruits and vegetables I found at the grocery store. This was incredibly expensive. I feel that by buying fresh fruits and vegetables to juice, as a single guy that ate out a lot, I wasn’t used to spending that much money in a grocery store. It also completely discouraged me from ever juicing manually again. The effort and the cleanup that goes into it is so monotonous and boring to me.
I actually made an amazing recipe during this fast. To this day, it’s the tastiest juice I ever had.
Best Juice Ever Recipe
- 2 Gala Apples
- 2 Tangelos
- 3 Pears
- 1 Mango
It’s better than candy! The other juices I made were either so-so, or disgusting. Since I juiced for breakfast and for dinner. I only lost about 15 lbs by the end of the fast. Unfortunately I got sick during this fast. I had a fever one night, and when I woke up the next day, I lost my voice. I had to skip class that day. That had never happened to me before. I was better in about 2 days. My primary reason for doing this fast was to reset my body and promote health. I knew because of the disgusting veggie juices, and delicious fruit juices I made, I’d be getting all the vitamins I needed. It was much easier than my first fast.
During this fast, except for my sick days, I didn’t skip a beat. I attribute this to the raw juicing I did. My fondest memories of this fast was going to Fry’s Food and Drug every Sunday night at 11pm to pick my fruit. I found that was when they restocked with the freshest fruit.
My latest fast started last month, and ended just a couple weeks ago. This was the most hardcore fast I’ve ever done. First, every morning I drank, one tablespoon of NeoCell Collagen + C pomegranate liquid. It was ok. Then 30 minutes later, I allowed myself to drink 1 blue plastic party cup (you know the red ones that college kids get drunk off of) of pulp-free orange, juice mixed with two tablespoons of Alive! Liquid Multi Vitamin, two tablespoons of Heart Miracle Liquid Supplement. The latter juice mix was disgusting.
The rest of the day I drank water, in moderation. About 7 days in, I developed a canker sore in the back of my throat that was super painful, it had a secondary infection and became a mild sore throat. It grew to almost 2 cm in diameter and made it absolute torture to drink juice or water. I’d had canker sores only once before in my life, and that was when I went to visit Nigeria when I was 14, but that was super small, maybe 3 mm in diameter between my gums and my bottom lip. At the time, my mom said it was because of vitamin deficiency. Though there are many theoretical causes, medical science currently has no clue what causes it. It’s kind of like back before 2004, everyone though stomach ulcers were caused by stress, but they discovered it was actually caused by bacteria.
Homeopathic medicine, aka snake oil medicine, has people believing on health and fasting websites that you can develop these sores because your body is detoxing. I think it’s more likely though, that my canker sore came from a different culture of bacteria that grew in my mouth as a result of not eating. Anytime your body goes through extremes where there’s homogeny in bacteria cultures , it’s usually a bad thing, and either results in you getting sick, or is a result of you being sick.
The bacteria cells in our body outnumber human cells 10 to 1, but because they are much smaller than human cells, they account for only about 1 to 2 percent of our body mass
– PopSci.com, How Much Bacteria Do People Carry Around?
Not to worry though, it’s good bacteria 🙂
Going back to the “detox” hypothesis, I take anything promoted by “Natural Medicine” with a grain of salt. I think there is some truth to that, because as your body begins glycogen depletion, it moves on to protein catabolism in your liver, spleen, and skeletal muscle, and lastly fat metabolism.
I have a hypothesis that what you’ve been eating over the course of many years can store harmful chemicals in your fat stores, and even more scary, that pathogens and viruses can hide and go dormant in your body fat. I’m basing this hypothesis on two of my fasts where I came down with an exact same symptoms I had the year before (even though it only lasts a few days, probably due to my body already having the antibodies to fight it). It’d make for some interesting peer reviewed research and case studies.
Another possibility is that my canker sore came from an allergic reaction. I didn’t take any allergy medicine the entire time, and I do have seasonal allergies.
My main reason for doing this fast was health. I’ve always been a pretty muscular guy (apparently it’s because all Nigerian men are buff, according to my friends), but I’ve decided to tone it down going forward. I’m a really observant person, and I’ve noticed that you don’t see very many old buff guys (or old tall people, for that matter). The only old buff guys you see look like they’re on their last leg and are being kept alive by the miracle of medical science. I was 205 lbs before my fast and built like a diesel engine (my High School nickname was Ovi Diesel). I noticed that by being 6’2″ and getting that heavy, I was ranking on the BMI scale as being overweight, even though I only had 13% body fat. I also noticed that I was getting “fat face” which I didn’t like at all, but that was mostly because I stopped running and bleachers for 1.5 months due to my hectic schedule.
I think the reason I got that big was: (1) being in the gym every day (2) eating everything on my plate. I’d formed the habit of eating till I was full, rather than eating till I was satisfied.
Now that I’m engaged to be married in August, I decided to pick a more sustainable weight that I can orbit around for the next 20 years of my youth, before slimming down further in old age. So I’ve picked 185 lbs as my target weight, and 190 lbs as my max. I’m going for the track athlete build, no longer the NFL build. At this weight and with constant cardio, I believe I can make great steps toward longevity and a healthy happy lifestyle. I lost 26 lbs. I started the fast on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 8 pm weighing in at 205 lbs, and ended the fast on Sunday, June 16, 2013 at 8 pm weighing 179 lbs. Right now I’m holding at 181 lbs.
Results and final thoughts
This latest fast was the most productive one I’d ever been on. It was also the hardest due to the water-only rule for the rest of the day. I found that the best way to pass the time was working. Literally doing web-programming for 12 hours straight at times. I had the most work-energy (different than exercise energy) I’d had ever, and I had more clarity of mind than ever. So in conclusion, I hate fasting…but it works wonders for me. Oh, and my canker sore completely healed about a week after my fast.
A 12 Minute Video on Fasting from a Medical Doctor
- Question: So you didn’t eat anything at all???
- Question: Do you poop when you’re on a 21 day fast?
Answer: No, not after the second day.
- Question: Is it hard to sleep?
Answer: No, but you notice you need much less sleep. I’m an 8-9 hour a night guy normally. On a fast, I’m right as rain after 6-7 hours.